Beach Road Oval was its traditional windy self on Saturday, greeting the Hearts for Semi Final Number One. The wind was probably worth about 4-5 goals and was definitely going to be a factor. A strong and vocal crowd had assembled for the big clash.

The home side won the toss and duly decided to kick to the southern end. So it was going to be important we got off to a good start. Scoring into the wind was going to be difficult but it was just as important to keep Brighton to a low score. It soon became apparent that the home side had the aerial advantage with a couple of “talls” taking marks early. But the backline, with an extra defender, was holding up well. Jordan Shanks was marshalling the troops from full back. Sarah Casey and Mim Waterman both got some early touches and were instrumental in running the ball into the draft when required. Carly Dillon was also in the mix early. It was a physical contest with both sides showing a willingness to attack the footy. Most of the game was played in the Brighton forward line and forward forays from the Hearts were rare. But we did manage to scramble a point and restrict Brighton to just the one major for the quarter. This was a great effort given the amount of time the ball was in their forward line.

Now it was our turn to kick with the wind. Shanksy was moved to full forward and Brighton adopted the same defensive tactics with a loose woman in defence. Pulli and Sarah Casey both started to get on top of their tags and there was some good ball movement for the forwards. Everyone was playing their part and when Jordan Shanks marked and converted our first major it was a just reward. Sarah Casey snapped another soon after and it was really tight as we went into the half time break with only a one point deficit.

The third quarter was almost a repeat of the first, except we managed to keep them goalless. The Frawley sisters were coming into the game more with Chelsea getting on top in the ruck, while Danielle was leading the backline well. The forwards were also doing a good job holding the ball up when in our forward led. Jess Wright and Candy Sheldon-Collins led the way there. And when Pulli scored a sensational, on-the-run goal we were in front. The efforts from the girls had the Haileybury faithful on their feet and we went into the last change with a handy four point lead.

Coach Frawly urged the girls to keep going, using the famous words, “the wind won’t do it for you”. And the girls responded magnificently. Claire Stark and Taylah Vines-Chapple we in everything as was Sarah Casey and Mim Waterman. The first 8 minutes were played in our forward line but we were unable to get the sealer. A point from Pulli had the crowd thinking about extra time as Brighton, to their credit, kept coming and started to mount some serious challenges. But again our defenders stood tall, punching the ball away, when necessary but also keeping the ball moving forward. It was a desperate last 5 minutes with the bounce of the ball favoring the two teams at different times. Sec had taken the timekeepers’ mantle from Bonnas and duly rang the bell with the Hearts victors by six points. The girls had followed the game plan well, restricting Brighton to a single point after half time. Brighton had beaten us three times during the year so it was great to get the one that counted. It was a magnificent team effort, the girls playing with brilliant intent and the song was sung with much gusto.

The girls now take on Beaumaris in the Preliminary Final.

Old Brighton    1.2-8    2.2-14    2.3-15    2.3-15
Old Haileybury    0.1-1   2.1-13    3.1-19  3.3-21

Goal Kickers: P. Gardiyawasam, J. Shanks, S. Casey
Best Players: C. Dillon, S. Casey, M. Waterman, C. Stark, J. Shanks, T. Vines-Chapple

The next luncheon will be taking place on the 18th of August. As this is the last home game for the boys, it will be the last chance we have to get together. 

The next major social function is the time honoured AFL Grand Final breakfast. Laurence Mooney heads an all-star cast of comedians that will once again get the day off to a great start. More details will be coming through shortly.

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